Essex

Where To Rent Paddleboats and Rowboats in New Jersey

Looking for a great summer outing that’ll float the family’s boat? A ride in a paddleboat (sometimes called a pedal boat) or rowboat offers panoramic views of New Jersey's scenic parks and lakes, and an opportunity for family time that may actually be peaceful. 

Paddleboat rentals are available throughout the state. Check the specific paddling locations for any age or weight restrictions, then sit back and enjoy the ride. (And don't forget the sunscreen!)

Feeling more adventurous? Find the best places for tubing and rafting in and around NJ.

The Best NJ Zoos and Aquariums for Animal Encounters with Kids

Treat your kids to a real animal adventure at one of New Jersey's amazing zoos, aquariums, and animal preserves. At these day trip–worthy spots, little animal lovers can meet their favorite furry friend, check out exotic wildlife from other continents, or swim with the sharks (yes, really!). We've rounded up the best places in the Garden State for New Jersey kids to have an up-close-and-personal encounter with animals of every kind. 

15 Awesome Water Parks for New Jersey Kids and Families

New Jersey has several fantastic water parks, some of them right on the beach! From big-name parks and boardwalk favorites to the state's first municipal water park, we've rounded up 15 of New Jersey’s best water parks and an overview of what to expect from each one. We've even included a couple of fantastic indoor water parks to keep kids splashing on rainy days.

If you're looking for water fun on a slightly cheaper scale, check out our Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads roundup. For more summer awesomeness, visit our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide and our NJ Theme Parks Guide.

Family-Friendly Mother's Day Brunch Spots in Northern NJ

Celebrate Mother's Day in style this year with an indulgent family brunch prepared by someone other than mom. Restaurants throughout Northern New Jersey are cooking up some fabulous luncheons full of breakfast delights, salads, carving stations, and desserts. Some of these eateries offer discounts for children, and others are FREE for young kids. Holiday brunches book up quickly though, and many require reservations.

If you're down the shore, explore these wonderful Mother's Day options.

Must-See Cherry Blossoms in New Jersey's Branch Brook Park

You don't have to travel to Washington, D.C., to see a stunning display of cherry blossoms this spring. You can enjoy the lush pink blooms right here in New Jersey this month at the 2019 Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival, held in Newark's Branch Brook Park from Saturday, April 6 – Sunday, April 14.

The event features two festivals-within-the-festival—Essex County Family Day and Bloomfest!—both of which offer plenty of family fun, including performances, bounce houses, a nearby playground, live music, and Japanese cultural demonstrations. It all takes place under the fragrant canopy of the sprawling park's 5,000 cherry blossom trees—the largest collection in the country. 

Read on for an overview of Branch Brook Park and the festival, along with tips for visiting with kids.

25 Fun Things To Do with Kids in Millburn, New Jersey

Millburn may be known for top-notch schools and swanky shopping at its Short Hills mall, but look a little closer and you'll find a vibrant town packed with family fun.

The heart of downtown, where Main Street and Millburn Avenue meet, is dotted with shops and restaurants and is home to the town's annual street festival. Kid-friendly activities in Millburn range from swimming and theater classes to storytimes and live performances. Creative play spaces, charming cafes, gardens, and parks round out the fun.

Located less than 20 miles from New York City in Northern NJ, Millburn is a great bet for an easy day trip any time of year. Spend some time exploring all the arts, recreation, food, and fresh-air fun that Millburn has to offer. 

Top 12 Indoor Play Spaces for Kids Across New Jersey

Looking for an indoor play space that makes your jaw drop and your kids jump for joy? We've rounded up a dozen of the biggest and best spots for playing, jumping, bouncing, climbing, and thrill-seeking throughout New Jersey. 

The Garden State is home to tons of awesome play spaces, and it was tough choosing just 12. We limited our list to those with major wow factor—places where you can tackle a Ninja Warrior–style obstacle course, play laser tag, climb on and through play mazes, bounce on inflatables and trampolines, play arcade games, scale rock walls, and even go roller skating or bowling. While most of these spots aren't specifically geared toward the smaller set, all have areas and/or times set aside just for them. 

Read on to find out which fun zones made the cut. And for even more options, check out our guide to indoor play spaces, where you'll find drop-in play for $15 or less, the best trampoline parks and bounce houses in NJ, and much more. 

New Birthday Party Spots for New Jersey Kids

Your little one's birthday is coming up, and the pressure is on. There are seemingly countless places to hold your birthday bash, but which ones will keep your guests happy and engaged (without breaking the bank)? From toddlers to teens, we've compiled a list of some of the newest party options throughout the great Garden State, including indoor play spaces, a trampoline park, art studio, and more. For even more ideas, check out our birthday party guide.

Three New Swim Class Options for Kids in North Jersey

Looking for an indoor activity to keep your kids fit this winter? Head to the newest pools in town.

Not only is swimming a fun, year-round sport; it’s a life skill that can keep kids safe. So whether your child is an infant dipping his or her foot into the water for the first time or a high-schooler wanting to work on competitive strokes for swim team, these three new options in North Jersey are welcome additions. In may be cold outside, but inside these swim centers kids will no doubt feel the fun of summer.

Looking for more lessons? Check out our Guide to Classes and Enrichment Programs for NJ Kids, including a roundup of swim classes throughout the state.

New Jersey Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal? Restaurants throughout New Jersey offer free kid meal promotions nearly every night of the week. (Basically, you never have to cook again.) Visit your favorite family-friendly restaurant on a kids-eat-free night, and you won’t have to worry about overspending on kids’ entrees, especially the ones that are barely touched. Check out some of these New Jersey dining spots that feature free kid meals on certain nights of the week. 

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